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Tatsunoshi
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:20 pm    Post subject: The Warrior's Way Reply with quote
I missed this in the theater but had really been looking forward to seeing it, and it came out on Blu-ray this week. Is it even a 'samurai film'? Well, like most films of this ilk they're vague about where the assassin clan comes from-it could be Japan, China, Tibet, or just about any Asian country. However, overall, from what's in there it seems Japan would be the best bet.

It's loaded with virtually every cowboy western and ninja film cliche (aging drunk gunfighter, spunky western lass out for revenge, outlaw band preying on the townspeople, assassin who tires of the game and is marked for death by his clan, final showdown between former master and disciple, a Seven Samurai type defence of the town at 'High Noon', etc). The film is set up when assassin Yang (yeah, Chinese name) refuses to kill the last survivor of a rival clan-an infant girl. Instead, he flees to the United States with the baby and ends up in an old west town. It's saved from mediocrity by the over the top final battle, a generally touching and decent story, and the performance of Danny Huston as the Colonel (leather-masked leader of the outlaws). And really, how can a movie that features ninja vs cowboys vs circus clowns be bad? Circus clowns make ANY movie good (as opposed to assclowns, like self professed critics who can't even spell 'Abarenbo' Just Kidding ).

The final battle pits a massive assault by an outlaw band the size of a battalion (well, that is what a Colonel commands) against the townspeople and a group of carny performers, with much of the action taking place in the dilapidated carnival. And early on the aforementioned ninja clan, just having caught up with Yang, drops in to make it a three way fight. Sure, it's loaded with Matrix style effects and is way over the top. But where else can you see a guy manning a gatling gun having both his arms lopped off and the gun, still firing from the death grip of his severed arms, mowing down all his comrades? The ninja are more like the Aliens from...err..."Aliens", being faceless, all black leather with ashigaru helmets, lightning quick, silent, and merciless. The last part of the battle does indeed channel 'Aliens', with a seemingly endless horde of ninja attacking down a hallway against a small group of outlaws. Huston is great as the soft spoken, ultraviolent Colonel, with one of the best sendoffs in recent film history. Kate Bosworth tries gamely to keep her scenes with Dong-gun Jang (Yang) interesting, but Jang has little to no screen presence, sleepwalking through his role (some of this is due to the way his character is written, but other actors have found ways to make these types of characters interesting). Geoffrey Rush is forgettable as the aforementioned aging drunk sharpshooter, largely collecting his paycheck and moving on.

Not a classic by any means, but well worth a rental for action movie/ninjer/cowboy fans. And while we're at it, Sucker Punch was fun too.
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kitsuno
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Joined: 04 May 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I actually just noticed this yesterday on Netflix and had moved it to the top of my queue. It looked "interesting". I remember seeing the trailer a while ago, but I think I thought it was "Cowboys vs. Ninjas", but I must have been mixing my vs. movies.
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SicklyBug
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Joined: 04 Feb 2007
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Location: Cleveland, Ohio. USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I actually saw this film in the theater. It's a very stylized movie and quite pretty to look at, but I felt it could have just a bit more to it. It just felt like the film makers were going through the motions and not really quite understanding what works.

If you're looking for something fresh or in depth, move along, these are not the droids you are looking for. It's a popcorn light action movie at best. I may be tempted to pick it up when the blu-ray hit the $5 bin.
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